Youth Orchestras of Namibia (YONA) is inspired by the El Sistema movement (which has been activating social change through music since 1975).

Youth Orchestras of Namibia (YONA) is a movement with the vision to transform the lives of youth through music. YONA’s mission is to provide an intensive music program that develops a sense of belonging, teaches the importance of teamwork and a strong work ethic, and promotes self-confidence and good citizenship. The overarching principle is to advance children first and music second.

The backbone of the program involves various orchestras for youth, from early childhood through to adolescence:

  • Early childhood: choirs, string, percussion and recorder orchestras.
  • Intermediate phase: string, woodwind and brass orchestras.
  • Advanced stage: symphony orchestra.

Individual lessons and mentorship also form part of the time table. We reach out to the community through regular concerts and events. Our aim is firstly to reach economically and socially vulnerable children; but the program will be accessible to all Namibian youth, regardless of creed, ethnicity, gender or financial means.

The most miserable and tragic thing about poverty is not the lack of bread or roof, but the feeling of being no-one – the feeling of not being anyone, the lack of identification, the lack of public esteem
Mother Theresa

The pilot project is at Suiderhof Primary School, Windhoek. This school has been chosen for its central location, good infrastructure and the availability of pianos and some percussion instruments. The student body is representative of most of the culture groups in Namibia.